A graduate degree gets you a great foundation for providing powerful clinical work to clients. But, let's face it- there is a LOT that is missed. My clinical program talked about trauma for about 2 hours... seriously 2 hours! I was lucky to have an internship teach me what I REALLY needed to know about working with clients with trauma histories.
Most therapists I talk to go into this field envisioning a life in private practice. They dream about going in to do really impactful work changing people's lives, and then living a life of balance when they come home.
And yet, what does grad school tell us about running that kind of business? Very little. So what is happening?
Chiropractors make about $130k on average
Psychologists make about 80k on average.
MFTs make about 60k on average
LPCs make about 35k on average.
Why are people with less training and oversight making more money consistently? (Not that chiropractors aren't awesome!) I think it is because most chiropractic programs include business training as part of the program. People leave knowing how to build a chiropractic practice! And, the ones that don't end up with chiropractors struggling to have a profitable business!
Now- it shouldn't matter that mental health professionals make less money. We aren't in it for just the money!
And yet, I talk to amazing professionals every day who think running a private practice means:
Having to have a second job
Having to rely on a spouse's income
Living without a secure plan for retirement
Not being able to afford top trainings and consultations that inspire their work
Having to skip vacations, or see so many clients a week that they are tapped out when it is time to live the rest of their lives
Being stuck and not being able to progress a therapy business past a certain point
Not being able to take time off when they are sick, or injured
If I truly believed living like this was going to produce the most effective passionate services for our clients, I would get off of my soapbox about business training for mental health professionals.
But I don't. I believe the way we run our businesses is a clinical issue.
Top 3 Reasons Therapists Need Business School:
1. Therapists continually are unsure how to get the phone to ring.
If the phone is ringing, it means that clients who need you can find you. I haven't met any therapists who are easily findable who don't have more than enough clients calling them for services.
I had a business coach tell me that every business is the same. While I don't exactly agree with that- I do agree with the fact that if you aren't making a profit- you have a hobby- not a business. And, again, if you aren't making a profit- it either means that clients aren't finding you... or...
2. Many therapist have no idea how to develop a business plan for private practice.
Therapists look up how to make a business plan- and find general templates that don't seem to apply to what we do... Or, we find private practice coaches telling us that we should PLAN to spend a lot more money than we make for the first few years...
I would rather plan to make as much money as I need to survive the first year. While having a savings buffer is great, I think it is better to make a clear plan of action that sets you up for success. A business plan is not how many clients you need to see to break even or make a profit.
3. I've said it before, and I will say it again- business issues will turn into clinical issues.
If you have blocks around money and fee setting- it will impact your clinical practice. If you find that your client's finances are setting the treatment plan and interventions- this is a clinical issue.
We are charged with providing excellent clinical services- regardless of someone's income. That means that if someone can't afford services needed to get optimal outcomes, we need to refer them out. Yep, I said it.
What about you? What do you need to be successful?
Make a list right now of what you feel like is missing in your practice. Seriously. Right now. Pause. Do it!
Are you done yet? Ok... thank you for doing that!
Do you need some business help or private practice inspiration? We have a free training upcoming this Thursday! (Man we have been BUSY!)
There are many more reasons why I think therapists need some type of business training or business school to be successful in private practice. That is why we developed our Business School Bootcamp that teaches the business skills you need, in a clinically impactful way. It is focused on implementation and making change- not just talking about change.
As part of our kick-off (the Business School Bootcamp program officially starts next Monday) we are going to have a free training and launch party this Thursday at 4pm PST. (That link also has a free 30 minute training video that I recorded on Saturday... with me talking.. and my face on camera... my least favorite thing ever!)
In the training we will cover how to have a full time income from a part-time practice, talk about the upcoming bootcamp, and answer questions about the Business School Bootcamp. We will unabashedly be talking about our program, and sharing why almost every therapist I have shared the program with this last week has signed up.
The response to the program has confirmed what we already knew- that this is needed. This is important. And, we have already committed to making this Business School Bootcamp an annual event. People accepted into the program will get *lifetime access to the program.
Uh oh... did you see the "*" that means there is a catch! Is there any reason why I wouldn't get lifetime access? No- why? Because you are nice and awesome! If you somehow sneak through the interview process into our program and are rude, condescending, insulting, horrible, mean, or make the lives of our clients miserable while in our groups, we reserve the right to not invite you back to the program in the future. And no, we won't give you a refund. Mean behavior should never be rewarded ;0)
The lifetime access is there so you can build relationships with other amazing, passionate clinicians from across the United States (and abroad), and you can, for free, dig into your business once a year, every year! (We think you should!)